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The Loneliest Girl in the Universe
Cover of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe
The Loneliest Girl in the Universe
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A surprising and gripping sci-fi thriller with a killer twist

The daughter of two astronauts, Romy Silvers is no stranger to life in space. But she never knew how isolating the universe could be until her parents' tragic deaths left her alone on the Infinity, a spaceship speeding away from Earth.

Romy tries to make the best of her lonely situation, but with only brief messages from her therapist on Earth to keep her company, she can't help but feel like something is missing. It seems like a dream come true when NASA alerts her that another ship, the Eternity, will be joining the Infinity.

Romy begins exchanging messages with J, the captain of the Eternity, and their friendship breathes new life into her world. But as the Eternity gets closer, Romy learns there's more to J's mission than she could have imagined. And suddenly, there are worse things than being alone....

A surprising and gripping sci-fi thriller with a killer twist

The daughter of two astronauts, Romy Silvers is no stranger to life in space. But she never knew how isolating the universe could be until her parents' tragic deaths left her alone on the Infinity, a spaceship speeding away from Earth.

Romy tries to make the best of her lonely situation, but with only brief messages from her therapist on Earth to keep her company, she can't help but feel like something is missing. It seems like a dream come true when NASA alerts her that another ship, the Eternity, will be joining the Infinity.

Romy begins exchanging messages with J, the captain of the Eternity, and their friendship breathes new life into her world. But as the Eternity gets closer, Romy learns there's more to J's mission than she could have imagined. And suddenly, there are worse things than being alone....

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About the Author-
  • Lauren James was born in 1992 and has a master's degree from the University of Nottingham, UK, where she studied chemistry and physics. The Loneliest Girl in the Universe was inspired by a physics calculation she was assigned at university. She lives in the West Midlands, UK, and is an Arts Council grant recipient. You can find her at www.laurenejames.co.uk.
Reviews-
  • School Library Journal

    May 1, 2018

    Gr 8 Up-Romy Silvers was born on The Infinity 16 years ago and has never been to Earth. As the ship soars the galaxy to colonize a new planet, Earth II, Romy is left to command the ship after her parents' death. As the only human onboard, Romy passes her time writing fan fiction about her favorite earthen TV show and emailing her NASA liaison-her only source of communication. Romy receives a message that a new ship with Commander J is on the way to help her, and she's excited to no longer be alone. Through emails filled with their deepest thoughts and concerns, Romy counts down the days until J joins her and wonders if he's as dreamy as her favorite TV show character. With war looming on the horizon, the uncertainty of the new Earth, and a new man joining the mission, Romy wonders if loneliness is the least of her concerns. Peppered with email exchanges from Earth and Commander J, this sci-fi tale is about a young woman looking forward to her future while fighting her nightmares from the past. Romy is an average and relatable teen who dreams of love and crushes on TV actors. Though she is the commander of a ship and gifted in math and science, she also has moments of insecurity and weakness. The author attempts to compose a narrative about loneliness, but this falls short of going deeper into the psychological effects of losing parents and truly being alone for five years. VERDICT Not recommended.-Dawn Abron, Zion-Benton Public Library, IL

    Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    May 1, 2018
    In the mid-21st century, a young white woman tries to complete the mission of her deceased astronaut parents.Romy, the lone survivor on a spaceship heading away from Earth, learned a great deal from her British dad and American mom, enough to help her try to reach the planet they were headed for before they died. With daily messages from her therapist, Molly, reading romance novels, and writing fan fiction, Romy copes as best she can, but the isolation is sometimes too much to bear. When she receives news that another ship has been launched to connect with hers, she is beside herself with happiness. Soon she begins to receive messages from the commander of the approaching ship, J Shoreditch, a young man of 22. Her excitement is soon tempered by a curt message from Molly: "TRANSMISSIONS POSTPONED. WAR ON EARTH." A post indicating the disbanding of the United States spells uncertainty. For a while, it appears she and J share concerns about the war. However, as his ship gets closer, Romy realizes she is facing grave danger from her visitor as well as from memories of how she came to be alone on her ship. As much psychological thriller as space odyssey, the timeline of the action is a challenge to follow, but the focus on the mental pressures is intriguing. For fans of speculative fiction with lots of plot twists. (Science fiction. 14-adult)

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 16, 2018
    It’s 2067, and 16-year-old Romy Silvers, following the death of her parents on the ship five years earlier, is all alone as commander of the Infinity as it travels to Planet HT 3485 c, a possibly inhabitable exoplanet that NASA hopes will ensure humanity’s long-term survival. Romy should arrive in 2092, which leaves her with a lot of time to watch her favorite show, Loch & Ness; write fan fiction; and share audio transcripts with her therapist, Molly. When Romy finds out that another ship, the Eternity, will cross paths with her ship in a year, she’s ecstatic and begins exchanging emails with the Eternity’s captain, the charming J. Shoreditch. Suddenly, Romy, who desperately misses her parents, now has hope for the future and, perhaps, a chance at love. When troubling news from Earth arrives and she’s cut off from NASA, things take a turn for the eerie, and Romy worries that the sins of her parents are resurfacing to haunt her. In James’s suspenseful and clever debut, the immensely likable Romy conveys her desire for the very human contact that will leave her vulnerable. Shocking revelations about J. and the Eternity’s mission, as well as what really happened to her parents and the astronauts aboard the Infinity, pave the way to a harrowing finale. Ages 14–up.

  • The Bookseller "Gripping psychological thriller with a very relatable heroine."
  • Alice Oseman, author of Radio Silence "The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is shocking and brutal and has the best twist I've ever read. The sinister realism of Romy's situation is as terrifying as it is gripping, and I was rooting for her from beginning to end."
  • John Moore, Waterstones Bookseller "Loneliest Girl just blew my mind."
  • SFX Magazine "Black Mirror-esque. A fantastic slow-build drama. Lauren James is a genius."
  • The Scotsman "A tense, psychological thriller that will leave you gasping for air."
  • Sara Barnard, author of Beautiful Broken Things "A white-knuckle ride through space, science, love, and fandom. I was completely gripped from start to finish. I can't wait to see what Lauren James dreams up next!"
  • Maggie Harcourt, author of Unconventional "Gripping and utterly addictive. An absolutely stellar read."
  • Non Pratt, author of Trouble "Whatever your expectations, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe willy defy them. Exceptionally clever storytelling from a talented, versatile writer."
  • Samantha Shannon, author of The Bone Season "This book moves at full throttle from beginning to end. Lauren James isn't just headed for the stars—she's already there."
  • Philip Reeve, author of Mortal Engines "A page-turning science-fiction thriller with some terrific twists."
  • ALA Booklist "[James] skillfully, slowly unspools suspense and dread... This slow-burn genre-blender has surprising twists and turns, and patient readers will be rewarded by the explosive ending."
  • Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books [A] stunning twist takes the sci-fi premise into psychological thriller territory...a blur of action in hyperspeed that will leave readers breathless by this end of this satisfying genre mash-up.
  • Wall Street Journal "As a psychological drama, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is a good read with several shocking twists. It's even sharper as an extended metaphor for certain risky realities of modern adolescence."
  • Publishers Weekly "In James's suspenseful and clever debut, the immensely likable Romy conveys her desire for the very human contact that will leave her vulnerable. Shocking revelations pave the way to a harrowing finale."
  • Entertainment Weekly "This is a strange, witty, compulsively unpredictable read which blows most of its new YA-suspense brethren out of the water."
  • Paste Magazine "A story of loneliness and heartbreak blended with sci-fi thrills, it's one of the most surprising books to arrive this year."
  • Irish Times "Impossible to stop turning the pages."
  • Kirkus Reviews "As much psychological thriller as space odyssey. For fans of speculative fiction with lots of plot twists."
  • Mackenzi Lee, author of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue   "A tightly plotted Agatha Christie mystery thriller in space."
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Lauren James
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